Blackledge earned his bachelor of arts in journalism at Louisiana State University in 1986 and took a job in New Orleans with the Associated Press. He later moved to AP bureaus in Jackson, Mississippi and Tulsa, Oklahoma before taking a job with The Journal Newspapers in the Washington D.C. area. As a reporter for Education Daily, Blackledge covered Federal government actions as they related to education.
Blackledge's investigation into corruption in the Alabama two-year college system resulted in a string of front page articles beginning in April, 2006. For exposing the scandal, Blackledge was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting on April 16, 2007.
In 2008 Blackledge left the News to become an Associated Press investigative reporter.
- Blackledge, Brett J. (May 7, 2006) "Relatives given jobs, other perks." Birmingham News
- Blackledge, Brett J. (July 14, 2006) "Records show many officials have relatives within system." Birmingham News
- Blackledge, Brett J. (October 8, 2006) "Dozens of legislators paid by two-year colleges." Birmingham News
- "Prize-winning reporter leaving Birmingham." (June 22, 2008) Tuscaloosa News